Six years in the making, my first book of autoethnographic writing about clothing and nature, is just out. Published by the independent press Uniform books, Wild Dress is available from the usual channels or direct from Uniform. It is fashion and sustainability, but not as you know it.
After a four year co-writing and editing process, Design and Nature: A Partnership, is available now! The idea for the book began on a ferry and ended up with 25 wide-ranging chapters which all explore a changed relationship between design and the planet on which we live characterised by interdependence, humility and new ways of knowing.
The three editors, myself, Louise St Pierre and Mathilda Tham are excited for what will follow its release and grateful to all of the contributing authors.
Design and Nature is available from all the usual bookstores, more information can be found on the publisher’s website.
Just announced: a call for contributions to a new edited book about design and nature! We welcome many types and formats of pieces and many different perspectives. More details below…
Why The context of this book is the threat to vital earth systems, as exemplified by climate change, ecological toxicity, and biodiversity loss. Human activities are driving the deterioration of natural systems. Technology, policy, new business models – even changed behaviours, are not enough to reverse the deterioration. Instead, new – or rediscovered old – relationships between humans and nature are required. Design, a powerful extension of humans, needs ecological insight. This book is being made, boldly and explicitly to create change.
What Organized as a dialogue between nature and design, this book explores design ideas, opportunities, visions and practices for relating and uncovering how design can engage with the natural world. Ideas and practices carving out the relational, context-rich territory of ‘design and nature’ are still at an embryonic stage. The book aims to sketch out–feel out a new discipline for design, a new way of designing, a new ethic and new ways of integrating design with nature. Ultimately, this book aims to offer new ways of seeing the sustainability imperative and thereby seeks to address a convergence of crises in ecological, socio-cultural, and economic systems while finding potential for design actions including those outside design’s traditional comfort zone. This includes challenging the complex relationships and narratives of our world, from economic growth imperatives to patriarchal worldviews.
How This edited work seeks to imaginatively build ways of knowing about design in relationship with others, including: scholars and practitioners outside of design, voices outside a dominant global North, the very young and old, and other-than-humans. It does this by presenting texts, visual essays and design responses from a wide variety of sources including natural science, visual arts, nature philosophy, poetry, design theory and practice. The contributions explore design engaging in the world, not standing apart from it and in so doing describe a deeply interconnected view of people and nature based on experience of participating in the world through life, responsibility and context. Each contributor is invited to be explicit about their own position, and to offer an agenda for work ahead.
For whom The primary audience for this book is design academics, and the secondary audience includes practicing designers and design managers, creative directors. Because of the general nature of some of the content, it will also be interesting to a lay audience that is curious about our human-made world and its relationship to nature. The book will be published in black and white. Full contributions will range from 1500-3500 words, depending on the type of contribution. We will invite all contributors to take part in activating the book, through its process of becoming, and when it has been published.
Kate Fletcher Professor of Sustainability, Design, Fashion, Centre for Sustainable Fashion, University of the Arts London.
Louise St Pierre Associate Professor of Design, Emily Carr University, Vancouver, Canada.
Mathilda Tham Professor of Design, Linnaeus University, Sweden.
Key dates and process
10 November, 2017 Deadline for submission of abstracts.
Please send us an abstract of 400-700 words, and include imagery as relevant. Please specify the type of contribution you are intending to make – i.e. case study, visual essay, poetry, as well as the perspectives you wish to take, and the geographical location from which you write. We ask contributors to explicitly position themselves in their narrative, and also to contribute to an agenda onwards for practice, education, research.
8 December, 2017 Authors are notified whether the contributions are selected for the book.
The selection of contributions is based on the quality of proposals, and arriving at a volume with diversity of themes and perspectives. For the period of writing the full submission, contributors will be invited to participate in small writing circles with other contributors. This is to support writers, create networks, and to foster cross-pollination between contributions.
20 March, 2018 Deadline for full submission of contributions.
Spring 2019 The book is published.
Please send abstract or questions to the editors. We look forward to hearing from you.
Dartmoor, UK, 5-7 July 2017: a nature-immersed exploration of fashion sustainability with myself and Liz Parker.
Log off your email, shut down your laptop, and join us for a conference in and with nature to inquire into sustainability in fashion in a different way.
This conference in and with nature is an immersive enquiry into the natural world and questions and visions of sustainability of particular importance to the fashion sector. It will take place by the fire, among ancient beech trees and under the open sky. At the heart of this event is a belief that humanity can re-define its relationship with the natural world, and in doing so, can create the new systems – including new fashion systems – that operate within nature’s limits and support human flourishing.
The weekend engages a host of ‘ways of knowing’: experiential, sensory, intellectual, emotional and connects these to fashion and sustainability. There will be time for conversation, opportunities for individual reflection and plenty of space for playing in the woods. We aim to inspire you with new insights and strengthen your connection to a network of peers who have shared in this unique experience.
This event is for anyone active in fashion sustainability including fashion professionals, educators, activists and post-graduate students. You might work for a business, an NGO, a university or be based in the community. Find out more here.
We welcome proposals to contribute to the event. Presentations which involve story-telling, making, interaction or movement, and those which are the product of joint enquiry with peers are particularly encouraged.
The event is an initiative of By the Fire. It is hosted by Change in Nature, a leading social enterprise running nature-based experiences. More information on prices available here. Bursaries are available.
We anticipate that this will be an on-going opportunity and so please register your interest with us even if you are unable to attend on these dates.
Earlier this summer I had the honour and delight to be part of a group of designers, artists, scientists and journalists on an expedition entitled What Has To Be Done? to the Scottish Western Isles on a wonderful tall ship The Lady of Avenel. The trip was inspired by a journey made by Joseph Beuys three decades before to the same islands – and like Beuys our intention was to both encounter and evolve a response to the epic story of our times: the interdependencies of sustainability. [Read More]